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Patch Blog: How to Raise a Child With a Philanthropic Heart

"Children are like passersby who stop to ask for direction. A parent's job is to offer them wise advice and guidance."

In light of everything that’s happened in the past 10 years--the economy, the government, the disasters of our time, it is my realization that the safest, most secure investment, is our children.  Our children are the seeds of the future.  As much as you’ve heard people say that, or read it somewhere, our children are our way of passing on the values, morals, and ethics necessary to make the community they inherit that much better.  It is by teaching them compassion, morals, and philanthropy, that we can assure that the world is a better place than the way we left it.  As family, parents, friends and educators, investing in our children is our way of securing our future.

I don’t have a magic solution for how to do it, or a perfect plan.  Raising our kids is equal parts evolving and improvisation.  With all the hurdles we have to jump through to achieve, the cultural definitions we have to live up to in order to be “successful”, where do we find space in our children’s lives to teach them the values they will need when they grow into adulthood?  Between tutors, and sports, and music, we seem to be filling the schedules of our children with one more thing to tack onto a resume, one extra bullet point to put on their college applications.  But from personal experience, that extra time we take to teach them the values of giving and of volunteering, pay dividends that will continue to reward not only our children, but everyone they interact with now and in the years to come as they take their steps into adulthood.

United Charity Foundation

Almost 10 years ago, a group of girlfriends from San Marino get together and wanted to do something about how to teach our kids to give back to the community. That is the beginning of the "United Charity Foundation" story. Our foundation focuses are on health, cultural arts and education. We have been sponsoring many charity events with local philanthropic organization such as the , American Cancer Society, PTA, Five Acres, Huntington Hospital, Pasadena Symphony Orchestra...and building schools and Senior Center abroad in China.

Recently we hosted a free parenting forum for Chinese parents at Caltech in Pasadena and Irvine Chinese School and it was very successful and well received by the attendees--parents. They all want to learn how to help their children grow into responsible, caring and secure young adults and be HAPPY in the their lives.

The four speakers Ivy Sun (our San Marino City First Lady, former administrative director of South Hills Academy), Rosa Zee (former president of San Marino Board of Education and Chinese American Education Association), Becky Lei (former president of San Marino Board of Education, international motivational speaker) and myself, shared a lot of information and skills that help parents improve their understanding of children's behaviors and sheds light on the unique challenges facing Chinese American parents.

We cover topics such as: improving communication, recognizing opportunities for optimizing development and emotional growth, listening to the inner voice of your child, motivating and cultivating good habits, and many more.

At the end of our two hour presentation and Q & A session (which went in overtime)...we realized these are the topics that many of the younger parents in the audience wanted to learn more. Thanks to our fearless leader, Linda Lo, the president of United Charity Foundation, we will be able to offer four more parenting classes from each of the speakers on the following dates at (presentation in Chinese only).

  • 4-14-12: Becky Lei
  • 4-21-12: Rosa Zee
  • 4-28-12: Vivian Chan
  • 5-5-12: Ivy Sun

If anyone has interest, please email United Charity Foundation at ucfinfo4u@gmail.com for more information.

Raising My Children

I’ve raised four absolutely beautiful children in my own opinion; Stephanie 27, Vincent 25, Stanley 21 and Vanessa 14.  Like any parent, I can’t say I knew how to teach them all that they would need at the beginning.  We always go in with misconceptions or that we have everything figured out but who really does?  I certainly didn’t.  Working full-time to support ourselves as a newly established immigrant family, it was hard to find time to teach them the value of a philanthropic heart.  But the trick is to introduce it little by little.

Because it’s more than just teaching them the right lessons, it’s about living those lessons.  Within our busy lives, in order to ensure that our link to future generations is something we can be proud of, it starts by teaching our children how to give. My late mother always reminded me of an old Chinese saying, "Giving is Receiving." I certainly benefit from excercising my will to fully engage and volunteer in many philanthropic endeavors for the past 25 years.

As parents we worry; it’s in our job description.  We worry about whether or not our kids will get good grades, get accepted into that top-tier college, and pick themselves up after they’ve fallen.  On some level, in our eyes, our kids are still little 4-year-old children still learning to walk and that is something that will never leave us.  But life is so much more than those little worries.  Watching my children give back to the community even now is a joy that has no price tag, has no expiration date, and will continue to make me proud every day I see them. 

It could be something as simple as Vincent coming home to tell me he bought a homeless man lunch, or being able to freely call up Stephanie because I need help on a fundraising project, Stanley's decision for his Eagle Scout project to benefit the San Marino Recreation Department and working alongside with Vanessa at any and/or American Cancer Society projects...teaching our children how to give is the greatest investment you can make.

Do you teach your child to give back? If so, how? Share your thoughts on this post in the comments section.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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